French Open: Osaka battles past unseeded Bronzetti

Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka reacts during her match against Lucia Bronzetti. Photo: Reuters/Lisi Niesner

Paris: Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka laboured past unseeded Italian Lucia Bronzetti 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 in the first round of the French Open on Sunday to claim her first win at Roland Garros in three years.

Returning from a 15-month maternity break this year, Osaka had fallen in the first round at the Australian Open in January but looked set to breeze into the second round in Paris as the former world No. 1 bombarded Bronzetti from the baseline.

She dominated the first set on a gusty Philippe Chatrier court to wrap it up in 28 minutes but her unforced errors rose steeply in the second, allowing Bronzetti to break in the crucial game at 5-4 and force a decider.

However, the 26-year-old Japanese player got back on track in the deciding set and had the opportunity to break for a 5-0 lead but appeared to implode as world No. 67 Bronzetti clawed her way back into the contest.

Osaka pounced for a crucial break in the 11th game before finally clinching the back-and-forth battle.

Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka in action against Lucia Bronzetti. Photo: Reuters/Lisi Niesner

Ostapenko advances

Former champion and ninth seed Jelena Ostapenko overcame a rusty start in both sets to beat Romania's Jaqueline Cristian 6-4, 7-5 and reach the second round. 

The Latvian, who claimed her one Grand Slam title in Paris in 2017, lost serve in the opening game and failed to force a break point until 3-2 down. Cristian held on to retain her two game advantage before Ostapenko bounced back in style.

Ostapenko won the next four games to take the first set, but it was the Romanian who broke first again in the second set and held a 3-2 lead but Ostapenko again came back and broke twice to go 5-3 up and with the chance of serving for the match.

Cristian wasn't about to roll over, and although Ostapenko saved three break points, the 25-year-old Romanian, making her French Open debut, broke and then held serve to level the set at 5-5.

Ostapenko then served to love to put the pressure back on Cristian and the Latvian finished in style, breaking to love as the Romanian double faulted to exit the tournament.

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